Rebel XT and sport photography/telephoto zoom

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by washer, Mar 27, 2006.

  1. washer macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2004
    #1
    my school wants me to shoot some of the seniors playing spring sports this year, including baseball, soccer, lacrosse, softball, tennis, and track and feild - preferably action. this is in addition to trying to shoot my lil brothers basketball and baseball and my friends/my own wrestling.
    i know each sport is different in it's own way reguarding photography, but the main goal shared by all of them is to stop motion. i know the priority to stop motion is shutter speed, but what other settings are best for spots photography? what do you do; shutterspeed, aperature, white balance, zoom, iso, etc?

    most every sport requires a decent telephoto zoom. right now i have a 18-55mm and a 55-200mm and for most sports i find that still isn't near close enough. and worse yet, with that large a zoom without IS, its near impossible to get steady shots focused on the action. what equipment do you use; telephoto lens, monopod, etc? what would an ideal set-up be, and any recomendations for good buys? (i am a highschooler headed to college, as well as just starting photography, so im not looking at NFL sideline, but definitly good buys that will last and grow with me, not cheap hold-overs)

    gratious thanks
    washer
     
  2. sjl macrumors 6502

    sjl

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #2
    White balance affects the colour of the shot. Zoom is what section of the world appears on film: the greater the zoom (or more accurately, the focal length), the smaller the portion of what *you* see that actually appears in the shot (ie: the greater the magnification). Aperture and shutter speed are intricately linked with each other and the ISO speed setting: lower the ISO, and you have to lower the shutter speed or the aperture to compensate. Raise the shutter speed (for a faster shot), and you need to lower the aperture, or raise the ISO setting.

    If you're outside in bright light, you can probably get away with a small aperture (f/4 or slower) and ISO 400. Indoors, or with overcast weather, and you'll struggle.

    What ISO setting are you using? If you're using ISO 100, you'll almost certainly struggle to get good handheld shots; you could try bumping it up to ISO 400 or maybe even 800. You want your shutter speed for sports to be fast, meaning 1/1000 or faster, and that may mean compromises, especially if your lens is relatively slow.

    If you're struggling to get the shots you want with a 200mm lens, I'd suggest looking at the Canon 100-400mm if you can afford it. It's not cheap, and it's not particularly fast, but it does have IS, and it's probably the most reasonable lens you'll find with that sort of zoom. Otherwise, look at reviews for lenses that go to 300mm, and make sure that they have IS, or that you have a good quality tripod. Having said that, I don't yet have the 100-400 (it's high on the list of lenses to buy when I have the money), so take what I'm saying with a grain of salt.
     
  3. OutThere macrumors 603

    OutThere

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #3
    I shoot lots of sports, fall winter and spring.

    I've got a 28-80mm, 70-300mm and 100-400mm. I'm forgetting how fast each lens is, but for outdoor sports it doesn't matter a whole lot, as there's usually tons of light.

    I carry a white card for white balance, and use my knee as a monopod. :D

    Keep it on drive-mode (rapid fire) and take a lot of pictures, and you'll start to see what looks good.

    Track: A little blurring in the legs can look really cool, instead of freezing the action. Try to get close-ups on peoples' faces as they come around corners. Shadows on bright days can be effective.

    Baseball: Boring to shoot, bothersome because it's impossible to be anywhere but the stands. Try to time your shots as the batter swings, and as people slide in. You'll have to use a long lens to get detail.

    Lacrosse: People winding up usually comes out well. Offensive players usually make more interesting-to-shoot maneuvers.

    Tell me what sports your school has in the spring and I can give you more tips...I've shot:

    Soccer
    Basketball
    Baseball
    Volleyball
    Hockey
    Track/Field
    Swimming
    Water Polo
    Sailing
    Golf
    Cross-Country
    Football
    Rock Climbing
    Squash
    Tennis
     
  4. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #4
    Don't be afraid of using higher ISO's. That will stop motion as mentioned above.

    Fir your shooting the 55-200 should be enough for HS sports. Are there better choices in lenses, sure there are, But I was able to do well shooting skateboarders with my Canon XT in SF this past summer.
     
  5. washer thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2004
    #5
    ill have to keep that in mind, ive only consciously messed with ISO in low-light situations

    yea ive looked at canon's line-up and it usually ends with wiping drool off my chin- your thinking about this one right?
    http://consumer.usa.canon.com/ir/controller?act=ModelDetailAct&fcategoryid=150&modelid=7344
    what does usm stand for? and is f/4.5-5.6 fast enough? lastly, i know canon doesnt have the price on their site to avoid sticker shock, where would be a good place to look to shop? likewise, any good sources for reviews as well?
    and would you say a tripod or a monopod? ive got my dad's old tripod - what would be the difference for a good, quality tripod. one of the teachers at my school used to do some sports photography and he has a monopod, it looks a lot easier to use for sports and the like. unfortunately, even though he just went digital with the rebel xt, i dont have his class anymore and hardly talk to him.

    well thanks again
    washer
     
  6. sjl macrumors 6502

    sjl

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #6
    *nods* Easy to make that mistake; you need to balance the needs of the shot against the noise levels, in every instance. I like to shoot ISO 100 if I can, but it's not always possible, even in bright light.

    USM stands for "ultrasonic motor"; it's about quiet focusing -- and yes, that's the one I'm thinking about. RRP in Australia is around $AU3500; don't know the US price, but it should be significantly less, given that our grey market price is around $AU2500.

    f/4.5-5.6 may be fast enough, depending upon the lighting. It may not be. I don't know the environment you'll be shooting in. It should be fine in broad daylight, but I'd hesitate in anything less.

    http://www.fredmiranda.com/ is generally ok. As for shops, no idea: I'm based in Australia, and that's probably not much use for you. :eek:
    It's a question of what you're comfortable with; monopods help, but tripods are more stable. Depending on the situation, a monopod may well be enough. Note too that if you're trying for a fast shutter speed, the question becomes moot, since camera shake won't be an issue.
     
  7. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #7
    Higher ISO's allows for faster shutter speeds in daylight situations; and that can help in stopping action and controlling camera shake.


    Your questions about this lens has more to do with "reach". The 100-400 has great potential, but many "pros" shoot with the likes of the 70-200 f2.8 and the 300 f2.8. Why? For higher shutter speeds, but also for better DOF control.

    I would suggest that you might want to take a class in general photography. It might help with the concept of focal length, aperture, and DOF. And their relationships.
     
  8. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #8
    You are right on these two points. But you are missing one other, USM Canon lenses also focus faster, than non USM lenses.

    Sorry but some of your "gear" suggestions is like telling a new car driver that they would be happier with a Corvette vs a Civic. Yes, it is great to have the best around; but you must learn how to crawl before you walk.

    It was not more than 20 years ago that "sports" photographers had less than 3fps, and had to focus manually. That having much more than 300mm (200mm in digital, or there about) was a luxury. And yet we have some stunning images from those times.

    In the end, give the OP's kit - they can with the right technique - will come away with some great images. We should focus on the basics in order to be of real help.
     
  9. mrichmon macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    #9
    For sports, a monopod is far easier to work with. It will give you the extra stability without really slowing you down once you learn to work with it. A tripod will in general be much slower to work with.

    In terms of bad tripod versus good tripod, a bad tripod is often worse than no tripod at all. A bad tripod is usually fairly flimsy and will not securely hold the camera. The result is that the camera can move suddenly if the head comes loose. At best this will ruin a shot. At worst the camera will hit the legs or the ground hard and wind up damaged. Also, even if a bad tripod holds the camera securely it will often vibrate in the wind or with bumps transfering the vibration to the camera and again ruining the shot.

    For the type of sports shooting you are talking about I'd suggest that you look at one of the bogen/manfrotto monopods. Then take some time to learn how to use it.
     
  10. OutThere macrumors 603

    OutThere

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #10
    This is true.

    I'd suggest that you look on Amazon before continuing. Try to find a really simple book about photography, and read it.

    It'll define f/ stops clearly, explain the relationship between focal length and f/stop, explain the impact aperture size has on sharpness and d.o.f, discuss ISO and shutter speed and various other important topics that are important to basic understanding of what you're doing.

    Looking around I found this: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/02...f=pd_bbs_1/103-4518438-6711004?_encoding=UTF8

    Even if it talks for film cameras, the basic lens/exposure principles are the same.

    Before learning to drive, you want to know what all the pedals, levers, switches nobs and gauges do...it's essentially the same with photography. You can shoot on the automatic modes, but the more you know about what is actually going on, the more license you have to broaden your horizons into some really cool shots.
     
  11. davegoody macrumors 6502

    davegoody

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2003
    Location:
    Reading, Berkshire, England
    #11
    I use the Canon 28-300 L f3.5-5.6 IS USM !!!!

    This is a FANTASTIC lens, though is heavy as hell. The IS is amazing and does let you hand held a couple of stops lower that you would ever be able to do so without it. I do however use that lens on a Canon 20d as it is a much more sturdy body for the purpose - the Rebels (300d / 350d) are more "plasticy" and are more likely to fail with a big and heavy lens on the front.

    Keep it up though, Canon make some GREAT lenses, better (IMHO) than Nikon etc. As a few people have said, bump up the ISO as a grainy / noisy shot taken at ISO1600 is still better than a blurred and useless shot taken at ISO400. - Good luck !
     
  12. iGary Guest

    iGary

    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Location:
    Randy's House
    #12
    Thank the lord for Noise Ninja. :D
     
  13. cgratti macrumors 6502a

    cgratti

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2004
    Location:
    Central Pennsylvania, USA
    #13
    the 55-200 should be plenty long, but you need a faster lens... like something 2.8 or better with IS prefferably. your ISO should be at least 800 if your shooting night games.
     

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